Eric Johnson Stratocaster Review

manufacturer: Fender date: 11/09/2012 category: Electric Guitars
Fender: Eric Johnson Stratocaster
The long-awaited Eric Johnson Stratocaster guitar arose from Johnson?s express wish to give something back to the collectors, players and fans who?ve supported him throughout his career. Designed by Johnson himself with his own personal features and preferences, this signature model has a highly contoured two-piece alder body with a very thin nitrocellulous lacquer finish.
 Sound: 9.5
 Overall Impression: 10
 Reliability & Durability: 10
 Action, Fit & Finish: 10
 Features: 10
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (2) 35 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
Eric Johnson Stratocaster Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1629

Features: Presumably made in 2006. Made in USA. It has a two piece alder body (a lighter wood than the typical Ash), and a maple neck with 21 jumbo frets. It is finished in very fine coating of nitrocellulose which was one of the many specific customizations that Eric Johnson required. Nitrocellulose is the best finish available to enhance the resonance of the guitar and it will only improve with age. The body is essentially the Standard Strat shape although I have read that the back and arm contours are deeper than standard for more comfort. The bridge is flush with the body and the tremolo comes stock with 5 springs so that finger bends won't make the other strings (especially open strings) go out of tune. The bridge/tremolo don't have any paint on them so they resonate more. The neck pickup is based on a 54 Strat which gives it a 50s twangy tone, the middle pickup is based on an early 60s with reverse winding to give hum cancellation in the 2nd/4th pickup positions, and the bridge pickup is based on a 50s pickup but with extra windings to make the volume equal to the other pickups. The tone controls are wired to the neck and bridge pickups. The angle of the back of the headstock is different to allow removing the string trees that are normally on strats. This removes one potential binding point from the string path and helps keep the guitar in tune. The neck design is based on Eric's '57 Strat, which gradually transitions from a shallow 'V' shape at the first fret to a wider 'C' shape at the 12th fret. The neck itself is one piece of quarter-sawn maple, so the neck grain matches the body grainthe idea is to get more resonance. The fretboard is pretty flat for a Strat [12" radius], with 21 jumbo frets, which allows you to set the action lower and stretch the strings without fretting out. // 10

Sound: I like to play a large variety of styles with tones to match. I can get anything from Eric to Stevie Ray to Andy Summers to Angus Young, Jimmy Page, Alex Lifeson, Steve Howe; the possibilities are limitless. I truly believe that it's possible to make a Strat sound like a Les Paul, but not the other way around. I play the guitar through a DigiTech GNX4 multi-effects unit into a Fender Twin Reverb '65 reissue. I have to say that the sound of the Strat straight into the Reverb is about the purest twangy/blues tone that you could ever hope to achieve. This guitar is truly alive on every fret/string. I have a nice Brian Moore I9.13 that I typically have avoided playing in the higher registers because I find the tone a little flat/muted compared to the rest of the neck. Not so with this Strat. The guitar is very bright/punchy yet warm all over the neck. The only negative is that it does have a background hum if you don't mute the strings at high volume, but this is easily controlled by the player and probably isn't noticeable to the average listener only to gearheads like me. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar came ready to play, perfectly intontated and setup straight out of the box. I have been playing it for two days and have encountered no problems that needed adjusting. // 10

Reliability & Durability: It's a Fender Strat, so it's obviously going to be durable. I'll probably eventually replace the strap holders with strap loks, but for now they are acceptable. I'm trying to take good care of the guitar and not scratch it up, but I know eventually it will happen and I'm not worried about it because the guitar will continue to sound great, even improving as time passes. // 10

Overall Impression: I have always wanted a Fender Strat since I was first playing, but I'm glad I have waited long enough to get this model. At first glance, it doesn't really stand out as different from other Strats, but as you play it and begin to pay attention to the subtle details, you realize that is probably the most refined, precise "players" Strat yet made. It's probably one of the best values in custom guitar available from a major guitar manufacturer. I would definitely buy another one if it was lost/stolen. I can't think of one unique feature that sets it apart. It's the sum of all the little details that make this instrument so sublime. // 10

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overall: 9.8
Eric Johnson Stratocaster Reviewed by: FAIEZ, on november 09, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1600

Purchased from: from a local dealer

Features: This guitar was made in January 2005. It has 21 highly polished frets and three specially designed Eric Jonson pickups. The guitar also sports Fender's Thin Nitrocellulose Lacquer finish, and is available in two-color Sunburst (shown here) black, candy apple red, and white blonde. // 10

Sound: Plug it in and you've got a Strat that's dripping with sustain, and a truly ear-pleasing variety of traditional yet somehow unique singlecoil Stratocaster tones. Between the three modified Custom Shop pickups, and that extra-thin Nitro finish, this thing is a veritable tone machine. In fact, one of Johnson's customizations, the re-wiring of the middle pickup tone control over to the bridge pickup, is one of those long-standing mods that really should at least be an option on Strats coming straight from Fender, there is very little downside to this tweak (how many of you spend time fiddling with the tone control of your middle pickup) and the upside is a truly useable third pickup, with a darker, more punchy tone. Another highlight of the EJ Strat is it's gorgeous, Vintage-tinted, Nitro-finished neck, now I'll come right out and say that I'm not a big personal fan of the EJ's soft V shape profile (it simply doesn't fit right in my hands) but I know plenty of folks Who love it, and my own preference for a Vintage C profile in no way diminishes the high quality and extreme playability of this neck. I've read user reviews that complained of an annoying stickiness to the neck, usually attributed to the Nitrocellulose finish, but I experienced none of this myself. And while Fender's own specs mention only maple in describing the neck material, the guitar I played boasted a beautiful flame pattern across the back of the neck and into the headstock. When it comes to the fretboard, the Eric Johnson Strocaster steps right into modern territory, while the rest of the instrument exudes a thoroughly retro feel, the flat 12 radius fretboard makes for truly fast and accurate bends, and allows for what is arguably the lowest action I've come across on an otherwise Vintage-style Strat. Once again, if you're a fan of Fender's early, and much rounder 7.25 neck radius (like me) you may not take a liking to the EJ Strat's downright flat fingerboard (we're squarely into Les Paul territory here) but it's really just a matter of preference. This beauty absolutely excels at fast fret work. Oh yeah, and forget those skinny, finger-eating Vintage wires the EJ is armed with 21 incredibly comfortable Medium Jumbo frets, the kind of modification you will find on the Vintage instruments of many a serious player. Rounding it all out, the Eric Johnson Stratocaster is just plain good to look at. All four of it's available finishes, 2-color Sunburst, Black, Candy Apple Red, and White Blonde, are lovely, traditional Strat colors. But on top of that, the EJ's extra-thin Nitrocellulose finish is going to age like a fine bottle of wine, getting more complex, unique, and personal to the player as time goes by. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: This guitar is beautifuly made. It sounds great, it looks great, I mean what else do want from a guitar like this. it's worth the price, you simply can't buy anything better in this price range. The guitar has no faults but if yours does, do contact your dealer. Do keep in mind that it's not exactly a high quality guitar made for pros, it's just an ordinary production guitar but can compete with costum pro guitars. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This guitar is one of the most reliable guitars I've ever bought. I've been playing guitars for over 5 years and this is the one I really fell in love with. You can really rely on it. It wont break or crack no matter what and this is something I really like about it. // 10

Overall Impression: I usually play heavy metal and even though it's not much of a metal guitar, it still does the job for me. I've been playin it for 3 months now and believe me if it was stolen I would have bought another one. There isn't just one feature I like, all of it's features together make it simply one of the best guitars ever made. // 10

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